In this “Practical Ministry Lesson“, we will discuss Patriotism on the Mission Field
When a missionary arrives to the mission field, he loves the people and wants to do the work of the Lord … but he still holds high the thoughts and ways of his home country. There is nothing wrong with loving one’s home country, but we must realize that this can bring grave problems in the ministry.
Some have gone to the extreme of hanging a big flag of their home country on their house or teaching their new church to pledge allegiance to their home country’s flag in a church service. Although the majority have not went to these extremes, many of us would plead guilty of comparing customs and culture with our home country.
Instead of hitting negative nerves of what not to do, I believe it would be most profitable to discuss two small areas of what should be done:
1. Remember that as a Christian, we all become citizens of Heaven (Ephesians 2:19).
No matter what language one speaks and no matter what country he/she is born in, once a individual accepts Christ as his/her Savior, he becomes a new creature (II Cor 5:17) and a citizen of a new country, Heaven.
The reason this is so important to realize is because we can many times want to differentiate between races, thoughts, economical status, languages, customs and much more. If we are all one in the Lord (Ephesians 4:4-6), than we must learn to get along now on earth. It would be good to realize that in Heaven we will all be together and no one will be higher than the other, no status differences, no countries better than the other, … just a bunch of sinners saved by grace.
2. Our responsibility is to give the Gospel, not discuss politics
Many times on the mission field, I have been confronted with why the president of the USA or why my home country makes certain decisions. I must say that I have been tempted to jump on board of the accusations and set things straight, but at the same time I must realize that the devil will drive a great wedge because of this and my opportunities to witness or help grow this person will be terminated.
We must never forget our priorities. When a husband and wife forget their priorities, great problems arise between them. When a church forgets its priorities, destruction is around the corner. And when a missionary forgets his priority, he will be sidetracked and many souls and future servants of the Lord will be snatched up by the devil. The devil has used many things to sidetrack a missionary, but this subtle area of politics has strangled and killed many works for the Lord. We must stay on track, win souls, prepare servants and let the Lord take care of the political issues.
The mission field, as well as the Christian life, is a continual lesson on dying to self. When we die to self, the Holy Spirit can do a great work, but when we allow our flesh to work, the Spirit is quenched. The simple thought of this lesson is not to hate or forget about your home country, rather let the dedication and patriotism be pointed to the Heavenly Citizenship and continue with the priority of winning and teaching others for the cause of Christ.
Here to Serve,